Defining Sustainable development Unit 2

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A contested concept

A wide range of definitions of sustainable development has been produced and many, complex (and sometimes conflicting) meanings have been attached to the concept. In part, the idea of sustainable development has become a popular – and problematic – one because of the various ways in which it can be interpreted and used to support diverse interests (Elliott 2006). At the same time, sustainable development may be a genuinely useful concept ‘precisely because it is contested, requires debate and compromise and because it challenges both researchers and policy-makers’ (Elliott 2006 p. 8)





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